Most items tabled at city council meeting
By Ken Childers
Although a quorum was present at Monday’s regular meeting of the Okemah City Council, most of the items on the agenda were tabled until the next meeting, which is scheduled for March 23.
Only three of the city’s five councilors, Wayne Bacon, Mike Fuller and Kelly West, were present. Ron Gott and Ronnie Lucas were absent, prompting the council to table two city council items plus one item on the Economic Development Authority agenda.
According to the agenda, the council was to revisit the purchase of a police vehicle, which was shot down by a 3-2 vote in February. Gott, Lucas and West voted against the purchase, but the issue was placed on Monday’s agenda at Bacon’s request.
“Because we don’t have a full roster on the council tonight, agenda item number six (the vehicle purchase) will be tabled,” Fuller stated.
The council was chastised at its last meeting by two citizens, Loren Aldridge and Clayton Griggs, for disapproving the purchase. In response, Gott penned a letter stating his opposition to the purchase, in which he alleges that proper bidding procedures were not followed.
“My decision to vote against buying the new truck for the City involved several issues. First, the attempted purchase did not follow the required purchasing procedure for the City of Okemah for a single transaction costing over $7500,” Gott wrote.
Gott said the purchase request came from Assistant Police Chief Doug Danker and included only one bid. “Danker’s letter says that only James Hodge Chevrolet submitted a bid and the attached bid was signed by Mr. Billy Tanner. It seemed strange that none of the other dealerships had responded at all,” Gott wrote. “IF reviewed by an outside agency, such as the AG, OSBI, or the IG of an agency providing us with grant money, then this attempt to get the Council to buy the truck from James Hodge Chevrolet could be construed as a pre-select or, at worst, a rigged bid,” Gott said in his letter.
The city had received approval for a $10,000 Justice Authority Grant to help offset the purchase of the vehicle, which was quoted at $33,100, not including sirens, radio and other equipment.
Gott’s letter appears in its entirety on page two of this edition. The letter was not read at the meeting.
The other item tabled at the council meeting was the adoption of a resolution allowing for a closed set for the purpose of filming an episode of “Street Outlaws,” which includes temporary closure of Sertco Road. Acting as the Okemah Economic Development Council, the board also tabled a proposal to sell a building in the Industrial Park that was previously used as the trash transfer station.
The council approved the appointment of Keith Green as the city’s flood plain administrator. Green was recently hired to replace Josh Ishmael as code enforcement officer.